We all know her. The big dreamer. Mover, shaker, and aggressive vegan. She’s a whole handful and can probably spit out statistics at Olympic speed. A girl boss. But if you have to hear her spiel on how not using a reusable bag for your groceries is killing the environment one more time, you’re going to lose your mind. I’ve been all of these things. Apologized for being all of these things. I’ve toned it down, talked quieter, and I’ve let my sentence trail off after looking around and realizing no one is listening. Found myself the victim of the heart-wrenching lie that I’m way too much.
Perhaps the hardest part is the way other people can feed the thought without realizing it. Have you ever heard someone use the word “passionate” in a circumstance where they were trying really hard not to offend the person? “Have you met her? She’s just really… passionate.” Hardly dignifying, is it? As if somewhere down the line, the heart with the boundless love for injustice became a crime in itself. And if not a crime, a means for bringing shame. I wish I knew when it all became so backward.
I knew my passions in high school. And I was not modest about letting other people know. Upon graduation, I traveled around with a group of really special people that supported those things in me. They encouraged, built up, and brought things out in me that I didn’t even know were there. I was so fired up for that entire year. And then when I returned home, I hit a brick wall of disapproval. The cry of the people around me to quiet down led me to a life of settling. I went back to school and got a couple of good jobs. Decided the American dream was the best alternative. Instead of a life feeling ashamed for thinking that I could accomplish something that was bigger than myself. A life of constant opposition of my dream to build a shelter.
I spent a while doing disaster relief in Houston, Texas. At the end of the trip while packing to go home, the Lord whispered so tenderly, “Why are you giving up?” I melted into His voice, a teary mess on the floor. I’d turned what was meant to be a gift, a tool, a part of me that represented the character of Jesus into something worth giving up on. Taken it and decided, “The world doesn’t like this about me, so I don’t want it anymore.”
Girl, I see you. Hear me on this. The world has a way of pushing away the things and people it knows have the power to change it. Flesh knows the contagiousness of people who know they have a purpose and will reject it time and again. I sat in a sermon the other day where the pastor sat right in front of me and said, “Trouble is assigned to your life because it will bring out in you what nothing else can.” He never promised it would be easy. But He did promise that it was already taken care of (John 16:33).
If you’ve dimmed your light, I’m here to tell you to spark it once again. The shadows will creep back in. Perhaps you’ll feel more resistance with every step of progress. But the world needs you. Needs your heart that beats for the oppressed. It needs your righteous anger. Needs your passion and your voice. It needs leaders so that followers have a place to go.
Maybe you’ve been hearing it too. “Why are you giving up?” Maybe your dreams are long overdue. And it’s been so long since you’ve taken a stand. You’re not even sure if that part of you is still in there. I’m here to tell you that your passion is God-given. Steps are God-ordained. Your journey has been prepared for the purpose the Lord is begging you to walk into. This part of you that you’ve been told to shut down – it carries so much weight. It’s the voice of the Lord, crying out for His people. Crying out for His earth, for His creation.